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Haunted Landscapes and Historical Archaeology

Author(s): Alena R. Pirok ; Julia King

Year: 2015

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Sociologist Michael Mayerfield Bell argues that ghosts -- what he describes as "the sense of the presence of those that are not there" -- haunt all landscapes, operating to "connect us across time and space to the web of social life." Bell does not distinguish between what might be considered memory ghosts and supernatural ghosts; both, he says, lead to a better understanding of the social experience of place. Archaeologists often steer away from ghosts because we consider them "not real." However, if we look at ghost stories and rumors of hauntings as ways that people understand landscape, material culture and archaeology, ghosts’ questionable reality represents an alternative, not a nullifying argument. Our paper explores how ghost stories and rumors of hauntings function to explain historical landscapes and should be considered legitimate modes of understanding in historical archaeology.

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Haunted Landscapes and Historical Archaeology. Alena R. Pirok, Julia King. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 433998)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 306

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America